As the granddaughter of Austro-Hungarian immigrants, I ate an awful lot of Hungarian food as a kid.
Oh, no, no, wait. I don’t mean “awful.” I mean a wonderful lot of Hungarian food. Chicken Paprikas. Hungarian Goulash. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, right? Oo oo ooo.
My blood runs paprika red. It’s true.
Oh, and beef stroganoff. Which isn’t actually Hungarian (it’s Russian), but its sour creamy goodness endeared itself to my peeps of yore, and, with a little paprika, became a winter dinner staple from grandmother and mother alike. Coming home from school to a big, boiling pot of wavy egg noodles was a jump-up-and-down hand-clapping sight: it always meant stroganoff was simmering in the covered pot on the other burner.
And it’s still a favorite in my house. It’s not the way my grandmother made it — she would definitely frown at the fish sauce and lack of lard — but she would’ve enjoyed the finished dish just the same, beaming that her granddaughter loves to cook as much as she.
This version subs in mushrooms for the traditional beef without losing a lick of flavor. So savory and juicy after a good simmer, mushrooms are a natural for this dish.
Hey, Monday’s coming up — this is a weeknight-easy, meatless-Monday-worthy meal.
Have a lovely paprika weekend.
(I don’t know what that means, but I mean it as a good thing. Because, you know, paprika is good, and weekends are good. So. Lovely. And stuff. Shutting up now.)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I use a mix of creminis and shiitakes)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef – your choice, it’s all good)
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 ounces egg noodles
Heat butter and oil over medium in a large skillet until butter begins to melt. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of salt and stir until garlic is fragrant. Add the mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce, stirring well to coat. Cover and cook until mushrooms are soft and have released their juices, about 10 minutes.
Uncover, add the white wine to deglaze the pan, along with another pinch of salt, and continue cooking until much of the liquid has evaporated. Add flour and stir to coat. Add the tomato paste, smoked paprika and another pinch of salt. Mix well.
Start the water boiling in a separate large pot for the egg noodles. Salt the water well. (“Salty as the ocean,” as Anne Burrell would say). Add the noodles when the water boils and cook to package directions.
Add the stock 1/4 cup at a time. You want the sauce to be creamy, slightly thin, but definitely not soupy. You might not use the entire one cup. Stir in the fish sauce, if using. Reduce heat to low-simmer, and allow to heat gently while the noodles cook.
Five minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the sour cream, stirring throughly to mix. Do one final tasting for salt and pepper (adjust if necessary). Top with parsley, and spoon over the noodles.